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Kill BillTarantino begins with the logo from a 1970s Hong Kong productioncompany, Shaw Brothers, the curtain-raiser for innumerable fan references.
Appropriation, borrowing or paying ‘homage’ to other ﬁlms.• The main convention of Tarantino’s homage to martial arts ﬁlms, Kill Bill, is playful borrowing.• “I steal from every single movie ever made. If people dont like that, then dont go and see it, all right? I steal from everything. Great artists steal, they dont do homages.” Quentin Tarantino – from an interview with Empire magazine. 2
Borrowing• Nearly everything in Kill Bill operates in part as homage to other ﬁlms.• For instance, the opening credit sequence and music evoke memories of Hong Kong’s legendary Shaw Brother’s ﬁlms of the 1970s.• Why does he do this? 3
David Carradine . Kung Fu TV series Kill BillActors were chosen as previous roles they played and martial arts stories. DavidCarradine (above) plays Bill (in Kill Bill Volume II). Widely known for his role in the1970s TV series ‘Kung Fu’. He is playing what seems to be the same ﬂute!
Sonny Chiba • He plays ‘Hatori Hanzo’ – the character that makes the sword for The Bride. • Chiba played the same character in the 1970s show ‘Shadow Warriors’. • Hanzo was a Samurai warrior from the 16th century.
Gordon Liu Plays Pai Mei in Kill Bill –he starred in a martial arts show ‘The 36 Chambers of Shaolin fame”. In his earlier ﬁlms he fought a same character as in KIll Bill. Some members of the audience will recognise the intertextual reference. In this way, Kill Bill is strikingly postmodern in the sense that it deliberately plays with the audience’s knowledge of its source material. For certain audience members, a large part of the pleasure of watching the ﬁlms is therefore the sheer frission of recognizing the references.
Why is the inter textual casting post modern?• Film fans can be thought of as ﬁlm “connoisseurs.” Numerous websites exist in which fans of Kill Bill distinguish themselves into a type of social order based on who “gets” the references and who doesnt; who’s seen a particular other ﬁlm and who hasnt and how much their cultural capital is rewarded. 7
Playful approach to genre• First ﬁght scene: martial arts ﬁght between two assassins who used to work together.• Standard convention for many martial arts ﬁlms from the 1970s• Post modern twist in Kill Bill is that this otherwise standard violent confrontation takes place in a quite house on a quite suburban Pasadena street.• Even the weapons used in this ﬁght highlight the unusual juxtaposition between the “epic” struggle of assassins and the “mundane” setting: ﬁre irons, kitchen knives and frying pans are all used.• This makes it post modern. 8
Playing with Genre • Legendary ﬁgures from martial arts mythology have extraordinary powers, which ﬁlm’s multiple retellings further exaggerate. Here, the big ﬁght scene plays with Kiddo’s superhuman strength and thus makes a playful commentary on the genre itself.
Subversion of the martial arts genre• Kill Bill takes many standard elements, but takes them to extremes• Women are the featured ﬁghters— including Kiddo, Gogo, and O-Ren. This is counter-typical for this genre.• It has a non-standard musical score. 10
Playful with genre• In the big 20 minute ﬁght scene few martial arts clichés or images are left out.• Either rhythm and phrasing, imagery, sound-effect, visual effect, weaponry, props or tableaux.• In this sense, the ﬁght itself is not meant to be exciting or suspenseful as much as it is meant to be intellectually entertaining and even humorous with respect to the genre conventions and references. 11
Parody• In the ﬁght sequence, he juxtaposes stereotypical female gender roles with extremely violent—even sociopath—behavior.• He dresses Gogo as a Japanese schoolgirl and O-Ren in traditional kimono.• Thus the violent actions of these female characters—among the most extreme in either ﬁlm—are used to parody the gender roles themselves. 12
Playing with Genre Japanese samurai ﬁlms from the 1970s on often used extreme blood effects. Tarantino takes the visual convention to even greater excess, thus playing with genre expectations. Some choreographic devices now border on cliché. Weve seen so many ﬁghts in silhouette that this sequence from Kill Bill can evoke memories from the entire
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1967) • The music played when Sentenza (Lee Van Cleef) appears for the ﬁrst time ("Il Tramonto" by Ennio Morricone) is used in Kill Bill: Volume 2 when the Bride exits the church and ﬁnds Bill.
Intertextual references: The Simpsons • Shooting through the cereal is a reference to the episode of the Simpsons called "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpial a-Doh-cious," which features an episode of Itchy and Scratchy called Resevoir Cats (a parody of Resevoir Dogs), guest directed by Quentin Tarantino. In the cartoon, Tarantino turns up and says : "What Im trying to say with this cartoon is that violence is everywhere. Its, like, even in our breakfast cereal, man."
HOMEWORK • Extra twist:• An essay: “How • You can think about post modern is what Tarantino does Kill Bill is that is different to compared to Pulp Michael Winterbottom. Fiction?” • You can include this in your essay. 27